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Homeschooling and the Socialization Question

Swings

I’ve received more than usual amounts of emails regarding how to begin homeschooling lately.  When someone asks me how long I’ve been homeschooling, my stock answer is, “Eight long years.”  Fiddledaddy will tell you that I quit homeschooling every Friday, only to begin again on Monday.

If you catch me at just the right moment, I will advise you, “RUN. RUN LIKE THE WIND.”

I will be the first to tell you that it’s not for everyone.  Each family must weigh their own reasons and resources before deciding to undertake this endeavor.  I know many families who have children who thrive in a school setting.  I also know many families who have children who thrive in a homeschooling setting.  There is no right or wrong answer.  It’s a very personal decision.

With that said, I wanted to address some of the questions that I’ve been receiving.  Of course that all important socialization issue comes up most frequently.  Perhaps the most important aspect of homeschooling, even perhaps more important than the curriculum question, is the area of support.  Because as I can tell you from first hand experience, the moms are in (perhaps more) need for a listening ear, and social support.  When I first began homeschooling in 2004, I was parent to a Kindergartner, a 3 year old, and a newborn.

I spent a good deal of my day face down on the linoleum.  Or in the fetal position. In other words, I felt isolated.

I searched through online groups in my area, and after checking out several, I finally found a co-op type of group which not only offered classes, but also extracurricular activities.  This group was a lifesaver to be certain.

After a few years, the group disbanded, and I found myself feeling like a lone wolf once more.  This time I took matters into my own hands and began a once weekly play group which met at a local park.  I put together email addresses from contacts from my old co-op group, and sent out an email to determine interest.  We had our first meeting on a Friday afternoon, 5 years ago.  Through word of mouth and social networking, this group has grown.

I can tell you that these families have become some of my dearest friends, and closest support system.  Our children have grown up together.  It is a group that has ebbed and flowed over the years.  I’m blessed in that this has been a group of people that are very open about their struggles, and there is an abundance of grace as we all navigate these treacherous waters together.

I’ve wondered if our situation is an anomaly, or have other homeschoolers elsewhere been able to find support systems.  I was reading an article on the Mom’s Homeroom website addressing the importance of finding a support system when choosing to homeschool.  The article offered some of the standard and very important benefits to finding community.  But they did go farther in offering helpful suggestions for ways to search for homeschooling help and support.

In fact, I was very pleased to see ideas shared that I had never thought of.  I think it’s a great jumping off point.

If you are considering homeschooling for your family, know that you don’t have to go it alone.  Each state does a fantastic job of getting the information regarding requirements and community groups.  A great place to start would be your state’s Homeschool Convention.

And speaking of which, I’ve already begun the countdown for our Florida Homeschool Convention in May.  I’m already giddy with anticipation.  Packing may have commenced.

This blog is part of an incentivized online influencer network for Mom’s Homeroom.  Mom’s Homeroom is brought to you by Frosted Mini-Wheats.

DeeDeeSig

Encouraging the Reluctant Writer

I gave Cailey a writing assignment from her Intermediate Language Lessons this week.  The instructions said that she was to select a fairy tale from an expansive number of titles, and simply re-tell the story in her own words.  On paper.

What she interpreted:  “Now you are to take a sharpened #2 pencil, and jab it into your own eye socket.”

This is a child that has been raised being read to, including all manner of fairy tales and other literary works of art.  And get this, SHE EVEN READS HERSELF.  Besides, she’s seen all the Disney movies.  Especially the ones where the mother is killed off before you can settle down and enjoy the popcorn.

You’d think that she’d come up with AT LEAST ONE fairy tale idea to jump start her creative juices.

No.  Instead she moaned, groaned, flopped around on the floor for a while, cried, begged for mercy, and finally simply got angry.  That’s my favorite.

I don’t get it.  I write.  I make my coffee money by writing.  Her older sister writes.  Her sister has written two entire books.  (One which I inadvertently washed in cold on the cottons cycle, and one that I accidentally deleted FOREVER on her computer profile…she writes under an assumed name now, in the bowels of her closet…)  But still, she writes.

There’s a good deal of shared DNA here.  And yet, the second born wants no part of writing down thoughts, ideas, stories, or even a grocery list.

Evidently, I have a reluctant writer.  Which is a shame since we all know how important essay writing is for test taking and college work.  Both of which are in her future.

I did find some help when reading an article at Mom’s Homeroom on how to conquer essay writing fears.  Most of our states have adopted something called the CCSS (Common Core State Standards) which is a nationwide group of goals that help with consistency in school districts.  There are Common Core expectations for writing an informative or expository essay per grade level.  This gives you an idea what your child should master and when.

But what I really liked about this article was a way to break the writing down into easy components.  In other words, as the title of the article implies, the child is showing the paper who is boss.  This is where the acronym comes from:  Brainstorm, Organize, Support, Scan.  Easy to remember, easy directions to follow.

Therefore, far before Cailey joins Classical Conversations in the 7th grade, and will be expected to produce two papers per week (using IEW), we’ll be taking bite sized pieces to solving the writing puzzle.  I do believe that every child can be taught to write, even if they are certain that writing will lead to pain and misery.

At the end of the day, Cailey had written her fairy tale story in the form of Cinderella.  But with a bit of an edge.  And I can divulge that the evil step-mother bore a striking resemblance to the writer’s bedraggled mother.  But sadly, she met with an untimely death.

And the remaining characters all lived happily ever after.  Or at least until the next writing assignment.

“This blog is part of an incentivized online influencer network for Mom’s Homeroom.  Mom’s Homeroom is brought to you by Frosted Mini-Wheats.”

Cinderella goes to the ball

It is a tightrope act, when you have a blog and a very close to 13 year old daughter.  No longer can I lightly discuss her antics openly, especially after I taught her to, you know, READ.  But there are a couple of things going on around here that I wanted to share.  My filter is on high alert as I avoid the inappropriate sharing of anything that might embarrass her.

At the start of this school year (and in all the years leading up to it) my oldest child was very shy, self conscious, withdrawn, and insecure.  She spoke nonstop of her desire to attend public school, which I believe was born out of an intense need for girlfriends.  She has one very dear friend, but we haven’t been able to spend a lot of time with her.  We are very active within our homeschooling circles, but last year there weren’t a lot of older girls.  Cailey, on the other hand, is my social butterfly and is blessed to be surrounded by many many sweet girlfriends.

As far as Emme attending Junior High in our area, the school that we’re zoned for is way NOT ideal, and because my first born child shares my DNA, I know for certain that she would be drawn to the very worst influences possible.

My poor sweet parents.  I aged them horribly, and that was just because of the stuff that they FOUND OUT about…

Anyhoo.  What I wanted to share is the amazing transformation that we’ve seen in Emme in the last few months.  I believe that it began when we put her into Classical Conversations in August.  She immediately bonded with the girls in her Challenge A program, only 1 of which she knew prior to the start of the year.  She had found her tribe.

She formed fast friendships with the girls in her A.H.G. Pipa group (after a summer lock in). Then she began swimming on a Swim Team, and also bonded with the older girls.  And finally began attending a weekly Bible Study with girls ages 12-15.  Some of these friendships have overlapped with Swim Team and Classical Conversations.

I’ve watched this child begin to stand at her full height (taller than me), look strangers in the eye when speaking to them, and she has morphed into the life of the party.  Her confidence has grown by leaps and bounds.  I love nothing more than to stand back and watch her giggle and be silly with her com padres.

The best part of the whole thing is that I know each of these girls, and they are a WONDERFUL influence.  It is like I stepped in and hand picked each of her friends, every mother’s dream I suppose.  Only I didn’t.

I had a conversation with my dad last weekend, wherein he talked to me about a situation my step-sister was having with her own 15 year old daughter.  This girl is hanging around with a rough crowd, has become extremely belligerent, disrespectful, and is obviously very angry and unhappy.  My heart breaks for her parents.  They feel powerless.  As my dad eloquently said, this ought to be the time of her life, and she is miserable.

I am counting each and every blessing as we are not in that situation.  (And I know it can happen in the blink of an eye.)  For now, my daughter has no qualms sharing her innermost dreams and thoughts.  I am so thankful for this time.  And in the spirit of full disclosure, things are most certainly NOT always rosy, as I am tiptoeing through menopause while my daughter embraces puberty.  HORMONAL PARTY AT MY HOUSE.

I should also state for the record that Emme has completely ceased with talk of wanting to end homeschooling and attending a public school.  This makes my job so much easier, and lessens the amount of time spent searching for a military school.  In a harsh climate.

On Saturday night, Emme attended a semi-formal homeschooling dance.  A dear friend was one of the organizers and she and her team provided a wonderfully safe environment that those of us homeschooling parents who are HIGH-STRUNG, could be comfortable with.  There was a strictly enforced dress code and behavior policy and LOTS OF CHAPERONES.  (This did not stop my husband from threatening to dress in camo and stake out the situation from a nearby roof.)

Emme’s Aunt Trish came over on Saturday afternoon to help her with her hair and makeup.  Honestly, she was breath taking.  I’m certain that her friends attending the dance had never seen her wearing shoes, much less A DRESS.  And a fancy one at that (found at Goodwill…GORGEOUS).  I drove her to the ball, and on the way she confided to me that she was nervous.  Those nerves were dispelled once we got out of the car and a couple of her friends squealed her name from across the parking lot, as they were escorted in with their own parent, and they all entered giggling and cooing over one another.  (I wish I wish I could share photographic evidence, but that would be breaking my confidentiality clause with my daughter.)

She hasn’t stopped talking about what a wonderful time she had.  And my heart is overflowing as I watch this beautiful flower bloom before my eyes.

When homework threatens your sanity

When Emme  started Classical Conversations in August, I was pretty sure that we’d be in therapy by Labor Day.  She was shell shocked at the work load after the first week, and the next week after that she simply stuck her head in the sand and mentally willed all the work away…while singing her happy song.

I wonder where she got THAT coping mechanism?

In order to get through her work load, I felt like I had to drag her through thick mud.  Often we (and by we I mean WE) wouldn’t get the last of the work done until late Sunday night, and there have been occasions that she would be typing away early on a Monday morning prior to her class at CC.

Needless to say, the environment in our home hasn’t been pleasant.  And add to that the fact that we’re dealing with PUBERTY (her) and MENOPAUSE (me), well, as you might guess we’re all playing fast and loose with our grip on reality.

I now have an idea what parents have to deal with in the area of HOMEWORK when their children are in the school system.  More than one of my friends call homework the albatross that hangs around their neck during the school year.

There is an article that I gravitated to at the Mom’s Homeroom site about how to keep kids on track with regard to their homework.  I was surprised to learn that as a general rule, kids should have 10 minutes worth of homework per year they’re in school.  For example, by the 6th grade, a child should expect about an hours worth of homework.  But as I know from talking with friends, and from the article, those minutes drag on far longer.

The reasons for the delay can vary from your basic procrastination, DISTRACTION (LOOK!  A CHICKEN!), feeling overwhelmed, and just plain old bad study habits.

Emme suffers from a variety of each of these variables, it would seem.  But just when I thought I would go bald from tearing my hair out, her father, sensing the tension and tiring of his wife crying in the closet, stepped in to find a solution.

On Tuesday of this week, Fiddledaddy took Emme out to breakfast for a planning session.  He explained the importance of budgeting her time, and urged her to take ownership of her work load.  After all, the child hates for her mother to nag her, and the mother hates to nag.  This would be a win win scenario should it work.

He took her through each of her subjects and asked her how much time she needed for each.  He then showed her how to schedule out her day, including those times when she is out of the house for sports and other activities.  When she saw this on paper, she concluded that she couldn’t afford to put things off, lest she lose out on her beloved extracurricular activities.

And you know what?  This week has gone so much more smoothly.  She has budgeted time in the mornings, with more time in the late afternoon after events, and sometimes even after dinner if needed.  Ideally she should have been done by Friday afternoon, but there is one paper she still needs to write on Sunday.  But she’s only looking at one subject, instead of the usual 3 or 4.

Baby steps.  But in my opinion, huge strides.

Someone mentioned to me that there is about a 6 week breaking in period with regard to Classical Conversations, and we are just now hitting week 6.

And I’m happy to report that no one is in therapy.

What I’ve learned is that time management skills are best learned, at any age.  And if you happen to look into my housekeeping skill set, I really ought to be taking copious notes myself.

“This blog is part of an incentivized online influencer network for Mom’s Homeroom.  Mom’s Homeroom is brought to you by Frosted Mini-Wheats.”

Big IQ Kids Giveaway! (Closed)

We’ve been homeschooling now for 8 long years.  I’m pretty sure I’ve been through nearly every curriculum possible.  We began with A Beka when Emme was in Kindergarten, and then I got up the nerve to branch out on my own.  Some of the programs that I’ve used with my 3 students are (in no particular order) Math U See, Saxon, A Reason for Handwriting, A Reason for Spelling, Accelerated Christian Education, KONOS, Bob Jones, Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, and many others.

This is the beauty of homeschooling.  If something isn’t working, you have the freedom to go in a different direction.  And what works for one child may not work for another, even though they share the same DNA.

What we’ve settled on now that is working well for us is:

The 2nd Grader:  Singapore Math, Hooked on Phonics, Spelling by Sound & Structure, and A Reason for Handwriting.

The 5th Grader:  Spelling Power, Teaching Textbooks, Intermediate Language Lessons, & Mavis Beacon Typing.

The 7th Grader:  Spelling Power, Teaching Textbooks, All In One English, Mavis Beacon Typing, and Classical Conversations (Latin, Geography, Rhetoric, Institute of Excellence in Writing, Science)

And for all 3 I’m still doing My Father’s World (Creation to the Greeks) for History/Geography/Bible and Science for the younger 2.

Oh dear Lord, yes, it’s a lot of work.  And it will all be worth it when they can support not only themselves, but their poor bedraggled parents in their old age.  Fingers crossed.

But there is one thing that has remained a constant throughout all of these homeschooling years (besides my dependence on extra-strength Excedrin).  I have relied on the online program Big IQ Kids to reinforce the major subjects for all 3 kids.  I started using Big IQ Kids when Emme was in the 1st grade.  I was hooked on Big IQ Kids Spelling Time and loved how I could modify the weekly lessons to include the words that were in her spelling curriculum.  And now that she’s in the 7th grade, she still uses it to reinforce the review test words for Spelling Power.

Emme created the girl with the guitar as her avatar.

In other words, no matter what spelling curriculum I’ve used all of these years, I’ve been able to reinforce with the Big IQ Kids Spelling program.  And I have to say, I do believe it would work fine as a stand alone curriculum.

I expanded our membership the next year to include the math program, to aid me in the dreaded multiplication drills.  And now both girls have a good grasp of their U.S. Geography because that program helps them with state location, capitals, and abbreviations.

About a year or two into the program, I contacted the sweet creator of Big IQ Kids and told them that I wanted to help get the word out about the program because I’ve loved it so much, so they’ve graciously allowed me to host a yearly giveaway.

Big IQ Kids has evolved over the years to now include:

  • Spelling Junior – this is the one that I use the most for all 3 kids!
  • Math Facts – drills all 4 math functions, and upon mastery, the child moves up.
  • U.S. Geography
  • Vocabulary Junior –
  • Spelling + Vocabulary Upgrade

And of course the game page is now enormous, and you can set your child’s account to allow them to play a game if they finish the lesson, or just on weekends, or however you wish to set it up.  I’ve always let my kids earn a game coin upon completion of a lesson.  They will sometimes repeat a lesson just to earn another game coin.  We in the homeschool world like to call that REINFORCEMENT.

A Giveaway!

I have an opportunity to give away a one-year Big IQ Kids Bundle (a $79.99 value) which includes all 5 programs plus full access to the games page.  All you have to do is head over to Big IQ Kids and poke around a bit (you can try the programs out for free)!  Then come back here and tell me (in the comments of this post) which program would most benefit your child?

The Rules:

•  You must answer the prompt given.
•  No duplicate comments/ one entry per person.
•  This giveaway is open internationally, age 18 or over.
•  Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
•  You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

I will keep comments open until Saturday, September 22nd at 9:00 PM, EST.

Online Homeschool Planner for the Mac – A Giveaway! (Closed)

It just occurred to me that I planned on posting my annual Curriculum Round-up.  In July.  It is now September, if you’re keeping track.  This should give you an idea of how our school year is progressing. (I hope to rectify this, and post my Curriculum Round-up before Christmas break.)  🙂

In my defense, I threw caution to the wind, and after saying NO THAT’S NO FOR US, I enrolled Emme into Classical Conversations.  Since she’s in the 7th grade, it is a drop off program once a week.  After her first shell shocked week, we finally have settled into a routine with regards to the work demands of this curriculum.  Which includes Latin.  “Dear God, why didn’t I pay more attention in mass as a Catholic?”  So things have been a little topsy turvy in the homeschooling department.

One thing that I hope will help, is that I just ordered an extensive key to first year Henle Latin.  It’s sort of like Latin for Dummies, in that I couldn’t make heads or tails of the key that actually comes with the Henle Latin.  This spells it out for me.  Which is the next best thing to someone holding my head while I puke whenever I think of declensions.

One thing that is going well, with regards to homeschool, is that I found an online planning program that is made ONLY for Mac users, called OLLY (Organized Life and Learning Yearbook).  What makes this program different from others that I looked at after our annual homeschool convention, is that there is a one time license key fee of $39.95.  There are other online planners out there, but they come with a yearly fee.  Since I use OLLY, I keep all of the records (backing up to Dropbox) and never have to fear an outside source losing anything.  (And thanks to Dropbox, which is FREE, a certain budding author in my family shouldn’t fear her mother deleting her ENTIRE LIFES WORK…again.)

Over our brief summer break, I was able to take my time entering each course and lesson plan for my children.  When our school year began, I was able to assign a lesson each day to each child and then print it out for both their benefit and mine.  I assign weekly, since I tend to fly by the seat of my control top pantyhose.  But you could assign weeks, months, or even a year at a time.  And the beauty of the system is that you can bump the assignments should something be missed.

Some of the features that I love about OLLY:

•  Keeps track of attendance
•  Records grades
•  Journal entries for field trips
•  Photos can be uploaded for yearbook
•  Keeps track of all resources
•  Lesson plans can be reused yearly for younger siblings
•  Lesson assignments can be printed out
•  Completed lesson plans can be tracked

There are more features that I’ve not even explored yet, but these are the ones that I’m currently using.

There is also a great how to page that explains in detail (and many with a tutorial) how to use all of the different functions of the program.  OLLY also offers a free 30 day full featured trial so you can check it out.  If you decide to buy the program, your work entered during the trial will not be lost.

This is the lesson plan that I created for Cailey’s Language Arts

A Giveaway!

I have the privilege of being able to give away a free license key (valued at $39.99) so that one lucky winner can have full access to the OLLY program.  All you have to do is head over to the OLLY website and tell me which function of the program would help you to feel organized while homeschooling?

The Rules:

•  You pretty much need a Mac.
•  You must answer the prompt given.
•  No duplicate comments/ one entry per person.
•  This giveaway is open internationally, age 18 or over.
•  Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
•  You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

I will keep comments open until Sunday, September 16th at 9:00 PM, EST.

Disclosure:  I was given an OLLY license key for the purposes of this review after I contacted THEM to tell them how much I loved their product.  The honest opinion expressed in this review is my very own.

Update:  My winner was #8, Nan.  Congratulations!!!

Memorable

I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but I can sing the theme song from nearly every sitcom that aired from 1964 clear through to 1975.  Oh.  And I can also recite the preamble to the Constitution.

Memorizing (the important stuff) is something that has never come easily to me.  When I first considered placing Emme into Classical Conversations, I began researching the benefits of a classical education.  And as you all recommended, I’m slowly crawling through Leigh Bortins The Core: teaching your child the foundations of classical education.

I’m plodding through it at the speed of smell, since they thought to use a size TWO font and what with the whole NO PICTURES idea behind publishing a book, well, the child may graduate before I finish.

But, oh my, so far it is eye opening.  I’m beginning to grasp the affect of lowered expectations on our school children.  Something as a homeschooling mother that I’ve been guilty of in many circumstances.

I can also see the results of countless hours of media on not only the health of our nations children, but also on their ability to concentrate and retain valuable material.

Pianist Howard Richtman who has taught children for many years was interviewed for an article at Mom’s Homeroom with regard to a disturbing trend that he had noticed in recent years, whereas children seemed to lack the ability to memorize their music.

We live in a society which seems to lack patience.  Everything is fast paced and served through a drive through window.  Our children are glazing over with the constant stimulation that video games and the internet offer.  Added to this, our schools in recent decades have not emphasized the importance of memorization in a classroom setting.

This is one of the most important pieces of information that I’m taking away from The Core.  The ability of and insistence on memorization is central to classical education.   And the earlier that a child begins memorizing, the easier it will be for them to learn in later years.  The simple act of memorization is key to strengthening the muscles used in abstract thinking skills.

I am taking all of this information that I’m gleaning and using it within my own home classroom.  Because of Classical Conversations, not only is my 7th grader memorizing all of our nation’s states and capitals, but by the end of the school year, she will be able to map out and name all the countries and capitals on our globe.

I’ve done a complete reassessment of my other two home schooled children’s curriculum and am adding a good deal more memorization.  They are working right alongside Emme during daily drills.

Because my Jensen suffers from so many physical issues with his atopic dermatitis and his general wigglyness, I was assuming that he could not handle an advanced workload, and I did not expect enough of him.  That has changed, and while he may do a good deal of his learning up-side-down, he’s making tremendous strides.

I honestly wished I had been exposed to all of this information much earlier in my children’s education, but it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.  The article on the Mom’s Homeroom site also lists some great ideas to help strengthen a child’s ability to memorize.

Okay.  Confession.  I can still remember my childhood phone number, including area code.  What’s the oddest memory trivia tucked away in your cerebrum?

“This blog is part of an incentivized online influencer network for Mom’s Homeroom.  Mom’s Homeroom is brought to you by Frosted Mini-Wheats.”

Really…I’m Fine

I’m still on the lookout for a replacement for my old well worn out t-shirt which displayed a dead cow, hoofs pointing up to heaven, with the caption “Really…I’m fine,”  underneath.

Never has this visual been more appropriate.

Our home school year and all the accompanying activities are in full swing.  To begin the week, Emme enjoyed her first full day of Classical Conversations on Monday.  Her first class began at 8:30 in the morning, and I picked her tired self up at 3:30.

She was able to experience an inkling of what it might be like at real school, something she has always dreamed about.  On our way home, I looked over at her.  She was positively shell shocked.  I gave her a pep talk and brightly spoke of the merits of the program, and gently reminded her that she was wanting more of a school experience replete with peers.

“Why do you always have to put such a positive spin on everything, mom?” she asked disdainfully.

Like it’s a character flaw.

The next day I noticed her bee-bopping around the house without a care in the world.  “Have you done your CC homework?”  “Oh, sure, I looked it over.”

Which is code for, no, I stuck my fingers in my ears and am singing my happy song, hoping above all hopes that no one will notice me under the table in class next week because I’ll be completely unprepared.

I sat down to attempt to decipher her chicken scratch also known as handwriting, as she was  to list everything that needed to be accomplished before class next week.  Thankfully her class facilitator sent all of the parents an email detailing what work was expected to be completed by this group of 7th graders.

I printed out the email.  All six pages.

After reading it over, I was the one who was shell shocked.  Fiddledaddy glanced at me staring glassy eyed at the computer screen, asking me if I responded.

“Yes, I said I QUIT.”  Just kidding.  But I did try to think up with some form of hideous and unfortunate incident that could befall me to get me out of the whole thing.  Because I’m the one who has to motivate and follow up on my child to make certain that she’s not only keeping up with her work, but understanding it as well.  The blind leading the blind.

And this, my friends, includes light weight subjects like Henle Latin, Rhetoric, Apologetics, etc.

I pride myself in teaching only those subjects which contain one to two syllables at most.

I spread everything out on the kitchen table and attempted to make sense of her Latin homework.  WHAT THE HECK IS DECLENSION?  It sounds to me like something communicable and I DON’T WANT IT.

Why don’t I get this?  I was raised Catholic after all.  I went to church every stinking day while I attended Parochial School.  But I suppose all that time I spent knelt down in the vestibule pretending to tie my shoes so that I wouldn’t have to, you know, actually enter the church after exiting from the bus, didn’t aid in my understanding.  And yes, this was when the mass was still in Latin.

Oy.

Emme sat across from me at the table, forehead to wood.  I seriously couldn’t come up with a positive spin at all.  Except perhaps, MAYBE JESUS WILL COME BACK TOMORROW!

I am getting a handle on the Institute of Excellence in Writing curriculum that they use for the TWO reports that the students need to research and write prior to the next class.  In fact, I’m loving the IEW concept so much that I’m going to start using it with Jensen and Cailey.  If I don’t quit home schooling, that is.

And if Latin doesn’t kill me.

I had nightmares all night about being back in school, knowing that I had a test, but not having prepared for it.  But at least in this dream I wasn’t naked.  And I knew where my locker was.  So it could have been worse.

I woke up with perhaps one of the ugliest headaches in the history of headaches.  Not even coffee helped.  Later in the morning, as an angel sensing my despair (the email that I sent to her with the title HELP ME, DEAR GOD, HELP ME might have been a clue) my friend Beth called to talk me down from the roof.  Her sweet son has been involved in CC for a few years, and she no longer has a noticeable tic, and on top of that, her son is turning out just fine.  She was able to alleviate my fears, give me some very practical tips, and stop my hyperventilating.

Come to think of it, she has helped me navigate a number of life things, as she is also a fellow Lyme patient.  I’ve known her for years and am so grateful she’s in my life and is close by.

And so all of this should explain my unplanned absence from the internet.  It’s hard to type when you’re face down on the linoleum.  I’m back up and my perspective is once again positive as it’s time to face down Latin.

I ain’t skeert.

Any other new CC moms feeling a little overwhelmed?